Years ago I improved on Pascal’s Wager with the Vandivierian Wager. An article on it is here and a video on it is here. This article reinforces that argument in two ways. First, I specifically reinforce the defense against future religions. Second, I link to two short, related videos.
The first video just came out yesterday from Reasonable Faith and I think it restates one important input to the Vandivierian Wager quite well:
William Lane Craig is key to the Reasonable Faith organization, and he answered a similar question differently years ago:
The questioner in the latter video asks about later religions. Here are some points against later religions:
- Which concrete religion or idea are you referring to?
- Since it is a future religion or idea, there is in fact no such idea at present. Therefore, it is never preferred to an existing valid idea.
- If you are talking about innovating an idea on-the-fly right now, the religion isn’t genuine and loses value including truth value.
- Any true future idea will be at least compatible with Christianity, if not strictly identifiable as a subset of Christianity.
- For example, I would argue Protestantism was an improvement on the Roman Catholic flavor of Christianity at the time.
- Improvements to truth are always backwards compatible. Calculus doesn’t reverse arithmetic.
- Christianity is true (for external reasons, plenty available), and it identifies itself as the only true religion by means of Jesus’ claim in 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
- Notice that the identification of Christianity as the only true religion by means of this verse entails a particular definition of a Christian: One who goes to the Father through Jesus.
- Christianity prohibits addition to itself. This rules out common heresies and cults like Islam and Mormonism as distinctly non-Christian because they require various works to retain individual good standing and salvation.
- Some would argue that Christianity is an addition to Judaism or Protestantism is an addition to Christianity. I disagree. Protestantism cut out the extra-scriptural practices and works required by Roman Catholicism at the time and returned to a religion based in faith alone. Christianity itself is the fulfillment of Judaism as Jesus is the Messiah foretold. So this category of the proper outworking of God’s plan is clearly distinguishable from the other category of heretical deviation.
To recap, Christianity’s unique blend of the 4 below qualities ensure it’s status as uniquely preferred:
- It’s credibly true. There are good historical, philosophical, and scientific arguments to be made in it’s favor.
- It requires no action other than belief or consent on the part of the individual.
- Therefore, it is maximally attainable.
- Stated another way, it puts the work of salvation on God. This is proper because only God can meet the perfect standard of morality required to establish moral authority, and only one with moral authority can grant forgiveness.
- It comes with great benefits. Now and in eternity.
- It is exclusive. You do not qualify as a Christian if you are also a non-Christian.